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New tool sheds light on cell imaging

By | November 10, 2008

In the same way it's hard to see the Milky Way in a major city, researchers sometimes struggle to see tagged structures because of natural background light emitted by cells. In this week's __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__, however, researchers show that a new type of tag helps separate structures from the background. Gerard Marriott, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues found that using a blinking tag made it easier to spot cellular structures in live cel

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Obama to lift stem cell ban?

By | November 10, 2008

US President-elect Barack Obama is already considering a lift on the current restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, according to a member of Obama's transition team. Yesterday, John Podesta, one of the senior members of Obama's transition team and the previous chief of staff for Bill Clinton, told Fox News Sunday that the transition team is already considering lifting current linkurl:limits on stem cell research,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53224/ and how Obama can lift

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Synthetic vaccine nabs iGEM prize

By | November 10, 2008

A synthetic vaccine for Helicobacter pylori designed by a team of undergraduate linkurl:students from Slovenia;http://2008.igem.org/Team:Slovenia took the grand prize this weekend at iGEM, the student synthetic biology competition organized by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We wanted to make something with medical potential in the very near future," the team said in a presentation of their work yesterday (November 9). iGEM, the International Genetically Modified Ma

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Weight loss drugs scrapped

By | November 7, 2008

Sanofi-Aventis announced this week that it would discontinue clinical trials of its anti-obesity drug, Acomplia. The decision followed similar moves by Pfizer and Merck, who also recently abandoned development of similar weight loss drugs. Why is everyone jumping ship? The drugs all target the cannabinoid receptor CB1 -- also the target receptor for marijuana - in order to suppress appetite (read how Acomplia's mechanism of action compares with other diet drugs linkurl:here).;http://www.the-sc

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Fat chance for long life

By | November 6, 2008

Scientists have discovered a surprising link in the trade-off between reproducing and aging -- fat metabolism. A fat-burning enzyme in __Caenorhabditis elegans__ is activated after germline stem cells stop proliferating, leading to leaner and longer-lived worms, according to research published today (Nov. 6th) in__ linkurl:Science.;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/322/5903/957 __"It has been known for a long time that there is a positive correlation between lifespan and caloric restri

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Leaching plastics throw lab assays

By | November 6, 2008

Two compounds ubiquitously present in disposable linkurl:lab plastics;http://www.the-scientist.com/2008/11/1/23/1/ -- from test tubes and pipette tips to 96-well plates-- may be wreaking havoc on biomedical experiments, a study in Science reports this week. The study provides "clear evidence of these compounds leaching out of plastics," said linkurl:Andrew Holt,;http://www.pmcol.ualberta.ca/personnel/faculty/AHolt.htm a pharmacologist at the University of Alberta, Canada and main author. The c

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Varmus vs. Daschle vs. Dean?

By | November 6, 2008

Now that election day is over and we can stop feverishly predicting who will move into the White House, it's time to start feverishly predicting who President-elect Barack Obama will appoint to linkurl:key positions;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55167/ in his cabinet. So far, the linkurl:Wall Street Journal;http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/11/05/horse-race-begins-for-new-leaders-at-fda-and-hhs/ has heard three names as potential leaders of the Health and Human Services: linkurl:Ha

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EU proposes great ape research ban

By | November 5, 2008

The European Commission unveiled a linkurl:draft protocol;http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/pdf/com_2008_543.pdf on animal welfare today (Nov. 5) that proposes to ban testing on great apes including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans. The pan-European initiative would extend a ban already in force in Austria, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden across the entire 27-member bloc. The ban, however, would not greatly affect current research, because no testing

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Obama good for science, experts say

By | November 5, 2008

Science groups are welcoming Senator linkurl:Barack Obama's;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ landslide victory as the 44th President of the United States. Throughout his campaign, Obama made several promises regarding American science, including linkurl:doubling the budgets;http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/FactSheetScience.pdf of key research agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Energy's Offi

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Oldest forensic DNA sample obtained

By | November 5, 2008

Forensic experts have obtained a DNA profile of the unknown killer of a schoolgirl raped and shot dead 62 years ago near Swansea, Wales. Scientists isolated the killer's DNA from a semen stain on the raincoat of the 12-year-old victim, Muriel Drinkwater, and examined linkurl:short tandem repeats;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13102/ (STRs) on the Y-chromosome. Y-STR haplotypes are often used in linkurl:genealogical testing,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13524/ and p

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